Enabling Youth Productivity

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Children may not be motivated to do what they are supposed to do, often resulting in their parents exclaiming ‘Why isn’t my child more productive!’ As a result parents carry out various strategies to encourage their children to get on task, many a time to no avail. However, what is seldom recognised is that a child might have one or more good reasons for not doing something; a child may be confused, tired, upset, hungry, or disinterested. He may find the task overwhelming or not fully understand the significance.

The effects of peer pressure may also be a contributing cause for procrastination as could a lack of organizational or time management skills. In effect, there are many reasons why children are not motivated to accomplish their tasks barring the notion that they are deliberately and purposefully counter- productive. In addressing the issue of demotivation amongst children, there are some basic strategies which may be considered to bring remedy to this problem.  As a sequel to last week’s featured article spotlighting teenagers and their approach to productivity, the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) would like to reflect on some of the ways in which parents can assist in the drive towards greater productivity amongst the youth.

  1. Help kids develop a growth mind-set. Emphasize that one step at a time is all it takes to get going placing emphasis on the importance of personal effort. Demonstrate an “I can do it!” attitude. Small accomplishments lead toward bigger ones, so provide children with direct, immediate and constructive feedback so that they can experience success along the way to task completion.
  2. Encourage accountability. Children have to learn to take ownership of what they choose to do (or not do) and face the consequences of their decisions. Talk to your children about it. You might also share with them why you view challenges as opportunities to grow and why buckling down and taking control of a situation is not only gratifying but is also good preparation for other eventualities of life.
  3. Make it meaningful. If a task is not relevant to a child, chances are it will not get done. If it’s interesting and relates to something important or intriguing, or sparks the imagination and connects to the individual’s aspirations, then chances are the child will be motivated to try it.
  4. Pay attention to skill sets. Some children need new or better strategies for pacing, organizing or self-regulation. Help them find solutions to the problems they may be facing. For example, homework-related issues might involve learning to use an agenda or study guide; finding a quiet and well-equipped workspace and removing distractions. A child may also need assistance dealing with instructions, clarifying expectations or breaking a task down into smaller, manageable chunks.
  5. Strive for balance. Everyone needs down time—ample opportunity to relax, play, exercise or just take a break. This is especially important for children. It also gives them a chance to reflect and to create and consolidate ideas.
  6. Believe in the child. Help children develop self-confidence by appreciating their efforts and past successes. Allow them to see these successes as stepping-stones to future positive experiences and outcomes. Let children know that you are available to listen and to offer reinforcement and guidance as they continue to persevere.

Parents are well positioned to provide all of this and more, in order to facilitate their child’s productivity. By being attuned to your child’s individual needs and patterns of avoidance, it is possible to find the best kinds of strategies for a given situation. Remember to be patient, supportive, and resourceful and it will be possible to address avoidance situations as they arise.

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island.

For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com

 

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Important Productivity Lessons For Children

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Defining the concept of productivity to a child can prove challenging. The children’s online dictionary ‘kids.net.au’, defines productivity as “the quality of being productive or having the power to produce.”  It is also listed as being “the ratio of the quantity and quality of units produced to the labour per unit of time.”  It is questionable however as to whether either of these definitions could be easily understood by a child. Therefore, to better assist children with a coherent understanding of the concept of productivity, parents must resort to a more practical approach through demonstration of productive practices, explaining the productive elements to be found within each approach. With continuity in the practice of teaching and employing everyday practical productivity practices, a combination of efficiency, good preparation, effective use of learning tools and materials will prove evident in the children’s need always to execute all tasks to the best of their ability.

Simple productive habits to be demonstrated to your children include;

Take Notes to Remember Something Important

Taking notes eliminates the prospect of your child having to try to recollect information at a later date. Trying to remember important information that has not been written down can prove time consuming. In taking notes, the knowledge needed is always at hand. If your child does not like the prospect of carrying around a pencil and a notepad, get them to use their tablet or smartphone. It is the action of note taking that is important, not the instrument that they use to do so.

Put Things Back Where They Belong

This action not only prevents the home from becoming cluttered, it actually saves your children from wasting time in the future. By placing items back where they belong, the prospect of having to look for them at a later date is eliminated. This practices teaches a very effective time saving strategy.

Do Not Put Tasks On Hold Until the Last Minute

Using the time allocated for a certain project properly, will help improve your child’s time management skills. Effective use of the time given to complete a project will also allow your child to carry out the task at hand to the best of their ability.

Pack Your Belongings the Night Before

By making this simple task into a habit, your child will be able to observe the effects of good preparation. Getting ready for school in the morning takes time. This task illustrates how effectively this can be done once they have packed their school bag the night before. They will also be able to see how this exercise plays a vital role as it pertains to the time they get to school in the morning and how it allows for them to be properly organised in advance.

The Better You Communicate, the Better You Will Be Understood

Children should be taught from a young age that communication is key. The better they are at communicating, the more likely they will be understood by those they are communicating with. Better communication helps to prevent false assumptions. Good communication allows for messages to be received and responded to efficiently. It dispels confusion, eliminating the possibility of time being wasted on a wrong action.

Not all children are keen on learning new lessons, especially when it means that they have to change the way in which things are done. However once a lesson becomes a habit, and the worth of each habit is realized your child will be appreciative of the productivity lessons instilled in them at a young age. It is only right to place children on the correct path which will lead to them becoming productive adults. In this way, they will be better prepared for their lives ahead.

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com

 

 

 

Maintaining A Productive Staff

Successful business owners and supervisors work hard at giving their staff the encouragement that is needed to perform at their greatest abilities.  This creates the right environment needed to support strong individual contributions and full team participation. Employees are then able to perform their assigned duties competently and effectively.

 Therefore, a conscientious manager is one who is aware that employees fall into varying categories, each needing to be managed and held accountable to high standards. When individuals are not held to the same high standards as their colleagues, team morale is destroyed and productivity is weakened. In his article ‘Getting The Best From Your Staff’, Ian Ferguson, contributor to the Bahamas Tribune lists the categories that employees fall into as follows:

  • The Highly Motivated and Competent Employee
  • The Highly Competent and Discouraged Employee
  • The Hard Working and Dedicated, Yet Low Skilled Employee and
  • The Low Skilled, Low Productivity Employee.

 The Highly Competent and Motivated Employee

These individuals are the top performers in an organisation. They are self-starters, results oriented and are deemed valuable assets to the organisation. They enjoy their work and so contribute their best in trying to achieve company objectives. Although this category of employee contains highly competent individuals, they should still be given the opportunity to grow through new assignments, expanded roles and positive reinforcement.

The Highly Competent but Discouraged Employee

This category contains the highest number of employees. These individuals have the potential and capabilities to perform well, but their attitude towards work has become jaded. Therefore, they produce at the bare minimum and perform below their potential.

Employees fall in this category for several reasons. These reasons can include disappointment, discouragement or boredom, the cases may vary. Regardless of the reason, these employees must be identified and communicated with. The proper management of these team players can result in them becoming the most valued assets in a company. Therefore, managers must attempt to re-engage them with meaningful tasks and applaud or reward their efforts along the way.

 The Hard Working yet Low Skilled Employee

Many leaders confuse hard work, commitment and dedication with efficiency and competency. Some would argue that it is rare to find employees with good work ethics and that once found these persons should simply be rewarded for their efforts. This is not always the best approach. A hard working and dedicated employee who is low skilled should be encouraged continuously to improve on their competencies. These individuals are indeed valuable assets to organisations. However, they can be more productive workers if they were fully trained to perform their assigned duties. These employees must be encouraged to engage in talent development initiatives and must be supported along the way. This will lead to a proficient and well-rounded employee.

The Low Skilled, Low Productivity Employee

Business owners or supervisors have to manage this category of worker under their directive. It is surprising that these employees have been allowed to produce little without reprisal. The fact is that their lack of productivity is noted, yet many supervisors believe that it is only fair to give them the chance to improve their performance. However, opportunities given are seldom ever taken.

Ferguson states ‘Companies must make the sometimes difficult yet necessary decision to release such employees, once every effort has been made to build capacity and provide training and learning opportunities for them.’ Keeping this type of employee as part of a working team often leads to a drop in morale amongst other more productive and committed members of staff. Managers should not allow this happen.

The staff of organisations consist of differing personalities. Each staff member possess their individual level of dedication to the organisation and as such they each deliver a varied level of service or expertise. An effective manager should know the employees’ skills and personalities in order to motivate each individual in the right way.  This in turn leads to a high level of productivity from all staff members.

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com

 

 

The Secret to MSE Competitiveness: Customer Relations

 

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According to the last Business Enterprise Census, the majority of establishments in Saint Lucia are small scale businesses (76%), which employ less than five persons. There is the notion that smaller businesses cannot always compete with larger establishments and that they can be easily forced out of business. This is not entirely true as smaller businesses by their very nature, are more flexible and agile and enjoy benefits that are not characteristic of larger companies.

In enhancing competitiveness, smaller companies need not focus on size but on their capability to be better, stronger and more flexible. That is, adapting to change and connecting easily with customers. Therefore having an effective customer relations strategy and analyzing the needs of customers, provide small firms with the opportunity to offer a more personalized and often more customized products or services. For example in the United States of America, in the 1960s, Domino’s Pizza paid attention to customers’ needs and outflanked their competitors- Pizza Hut. Domino’s pizza offered customers their choice of home delivery or customer pick-up as opposed to the traditional restaurant style set up which resulted in exorbitant building costs for the firm.

A great disadvantage of larger businesses is often their size, however some successful companies operate and perform like small businesses. They quickly produce merchandize to capitalize on changing customer needs and swiftly remove products for which there has been a significant decline in customer demand.

Another disadvantage of larger companies, is that significant amount of time and capital are spent in Research & Development to discover the latest trends.  In most cases, to change or introduce a new product, it has to go through different layers within the organization. A failed product would translated to wastage of valuable resources. 

A small company can have a huge competitive advantage as it may not have the burden of larger staff, larger budgets, and larger losses and are generally willing to take risks.

In dealing with fierce competition smaller companies are better placed to provide a close and personalized service to customers with the aim of retaining them. As such, the following are ways in which smaller companies can focus on building customer relation when competing with other firms:

  1. Show great appreciation to customers. Writing notes and giving thank you tokens to new clients or offering discounts to the most loyal customers speaks volumes. Also, showing recognition on social media to loyal customers can be very valuable in building relationships with clients.

 

  1. When faced with completion, firms should not only pay attention to the actions of their competitors. It is also important to observe the environment within their businesses. It is therefore vital that employees are appreciated, as this translates to an environment with happy employees. If employees are content they are more willing and energetic to provide a high standard of quality service to clients. Employees who are unhappy may view the complaints and requests from clients as an additional burden to them. Therefore, happy employees translate into happy customers. Happy customers stay loyal to the firm and translates increased profits.

 

  1. Listening to customers is another important strategy. Very few firms take the time to stop and listen to their customers. More importantly, they should attempt to respond to customers’ needs and go beyond what is expect.

 

  1. When customers are upset, this is the opportune time to show commitment towards working with them to remedy the situation. Companies should use this time to consistently follow up or possibly meet with the clients directly. It would also be useful to provide detailed updates as the company works through a particular problem. In doing so, the company is more likely to retain their customers rather than lose them to other competitors.

To conclude, larger companies do have certain advantages owing to their size. However, for smaller firms, focusing on effective customer relations provides the opportunity to remain competitive and to better understand the needs of customers. 

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com